TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Wave and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast have been named as the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the Tampa Bay community to support entrepreneurial growth in the tech sector and shape the next generation of leaders, respectively.
As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years, comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management and strategic storytelling, joins a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and gets the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment into nonprofit leadership development.
“While local businesses fuel our economy, it is equally important to ensure that our young people are prepared for the future. The pandemic has only accelerated the need for the critical services provided by nonprofits like Tampa Bay Wave and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, and has shown the importance of developing a thriving workforce,” said Bill Goede, president, Bank of America Tampa Bay. “These two exceptional organizations bridge important gaps for local entrepreneurs and teens to help them chart a path toward economic opportunity and stability. Programs like Neighborhood Builders support these organizations so they may grow sustainably and strategically for greater positive impact in the community.”
Tampa Bay Wave supports tech startups in their journey to build and launch their businesses into successful ventures. Its nationally recognized accelerator program offers valuable resources to help businesses reach their full potential, including ongoing coaching, mentoring and introductions to buyers and investors. With over 120 startups supported annually, the pandemic heightened the need for Tampa Bay Wave’s services. The funding from the bank will help the organization expand its capacity, with a focus on bolstering support of underrepresented entrepreneurs, such as minorities and women.
“Women and minorities continue to be dramatically underrepresented in our local tech startup community, and these funds will allow us to expand our programming and provide scholarships for women-led and minority-led startups in Tampa Bay,” said Linda Olson, CEO and president of Tampa Bay Wave. “With this critical support from partners like Bank of America, we can help more entrepreneurs transform their innovative ideas into real world solutions and scalable business, thus fostering a stronger and more inclusive economy in our region.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast provides extracurricular experiences for young people to ensure they are on track to graduate from high school with a plan for their future, demonstrate good character and citizenship and live a healthy lifestyle. In support of this mission, the bank’s funding will be used to expand the organization’s youth workforce development program into a year-long initiative that will allow even more individuals to participate. Currently, it is only offered during the summer and provides teens with skill-building activities and hands-on work experience in the areas of financial literacy, career development, apprenticeship, customer service and community service.
“Thanks to this incredible opportunity, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast will be better positioned to execute on our mission by developing the next generation of leaders and helping our region become more competitive with a strong, and diverse talent pipeline,” said Freddy Williams, president & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast. “We are grateful for the continued dedication and commitment Bank of America has made for hundreds of teens across our community, ensuring our future leaders are better prepared for the evolving labor market.”
Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $280 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,400 nonprofits and helping more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. Here in Tampa Bay, 42 nonprofits have been selected as a Neighborhood Builder, with the bank investing $9,000,000 into these local organizations through the program since 2005.
The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.